He was neither head of state nor Hollywood star.
But the death of Steve Jobs, the visionary genius who reshaped the world, was marked with the love and respect reserved for the most illustrious of cultural icons.
Makeshift shrines quickly sprang up outside the company’s headquarters and at its stores across the globe. Apple’s legions of fans gathered together to remember the life of a man they revered as a hero.
LONDON: Two different messages left on apples outside the firm’s store in the Covent Garden district. Both seemed to encapsulate Steve Jobs’ vision
At Apple’s headquarters inÂ CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA,Â mourners gathered outside to lay flowers and light candles throughout the night.
Students had spelt out Jobs’s name in Chinese characters. Among the tributes were a handful of apples.
The company’s flags were flying at half-mast today as staff came to terms with the death of the man who had revolutionised technology.
There was no makeshift memorial or candlelight vigil for Jobs at the Apple Store in downtownÂ CHICAGO. The news of his death, and then the tributes and condolences, were in news alerts, tweets and messages pulsing through the gadgets inside.
Memorial: Two different tributes, in Cupertino, left, and Hong Kong, right
Peter O’Reilly knew something was wrong as shoppers perused iPhones, iPads and laptop computers on Wednesday evening, and an employee with a sombre look started to cry. She told him the news.
‘I can’t imagine a world without Apple products,’ said Mr O’Reilly, a 33-year-old electrician visiting from Ireland.
TRIBUTES FROM THE PEOPLE WHO LOVED HIS PRODUCTS
Millions of people used the technology Steve Jobs invented to pay tribute to him.
Tapping out comments on iPhones and iPads as well as the devices produced by Jobs’s rivals, Apple fans deluged social network sites with their messages.
Twitter hashtags #iSad and #ThankYouSteve were two of the most popular forums for tributes.
Dino Lazaro was one of thousands to retweet a simple sentence which summed up the mood.
‘3 Apples that changed the world: the one Eve ate, the one that fell on Newton’s head & the one that Steve built. #iSad,’ he wrote.
Hillery Andani tweeted ‘#iSad because the creator of apple just passed away.
‘#ThankyouSteve for your cleverness of creating the apple products. You’ll be missed’.
Another ubiquitous post ‘Retweet if you are touching an Apple product,’ was tweeted by iFiddy Oloye 1.
Naveen R Kukreja also used Twitter to thank Jobs.
‘You left your mark on our desk, on our ears and in our hands.’
AlyaaGad tweeted ‘iWake, iCheck, iCry. RIP Steve Jobs; you were the greatest leader humanity ever knew.’
Comparisons to great historical figures were also abundant.
Ganyet posted this equation. ‘Steve Jobs = Thomas A. Edison + Walt Disney’
Jonathan Moss, meanwhile, tweeted the following message.
‘Steve Jobs was born out of wedlock, put up for adoption at birth, dropped out of college, then changed the world. What’s your excuse?’
Marks of respect soon flowed from around the world. ‘iSad’ was a trending topic on Twitter. Mac Users Group Mexico released a statement that concluded, ‘Let’s breathe deeply and say VIVA STEVE JOBS!’
There were more traditional tributes closer to Silicon Valley. People placed flowers and scrawled chalk messages in front of the gates of Jobs’Â PALO ALTOÂ home, where family and friends gathered.
Someone wrote ‘Thank you Steve’ in lipstick on the window of an Apple Store in Santa Monica.
At theÂ SAN FRANCISCOÂ Apple Store in Union Square, a crowd started forming. A few dabbed their eyes. Others huddled in small groups around their iPhones reading the details of Mr Jobs’ passing.
Scott Robbins, 34, a barber from San Francisco and an Apple fan for nearly 20 years, said he came as soon as he heard the news.
‘To some people, this is like Elvis Presley or John Lennon – it’s a change in our times,’ Mr Robbins said. ‘It’s the end of an era, of what we’ve known Apple to be. It’s like the end of the innovators.’
Tributes were also left at the flagship 5th Avenue store inÂ NEW YORK.Â Although the shop was busy throughout the night, few people appeared to be buying.
Instead they gathered inside to talk about Jobs and remember his extraordinary life.
One customer began to sob when he was asked about the 56-year-old’s death, according to ABC News. He was holding his iPad in his arms.
Ryan Armstrong, 31, arrived at the store after hearing the news, according to CBS.
He described Jobs as a man who ‘made gorgeous products that were like carrying art
InÂ SAN FRANCISCOÂ people also converged on Apple stores.
Frank Arico, 58, told CBS News Jobs was ‘kind of like this generation’s John Lennon.’
Doc Pop, an iPhone developer told the broadcaster Jobs had been a huge part of his life.
‘Everything that I’ve made that is important to me was made on some sort of Apple product,’ he said.
InÂ LONDON,Â people left flowers outside the Apple store on Regent Street before the shop had even opened.
InÂ CHINA,Â one of the company’s fastest growing markets, Henry Men Youngfan said he was shocked by the news that his hero had died.
The 27-year-old doctoral student in Beijing bought his first Apple product in 2006 and travelled by train to Hong Kong in September to attend the opening of the company’s first store there.
When he entered graduate school at Peking University’s college of engineering, Mr Men said, ‘my teachers asked me what kind of person I wanted to be and I told them I wanted to be like Steve’.
Li Zilong, who was listening to his iPod in front of a Beijing Apple store, worried that Apple’s innovation died along with its co-founder.
‘Jobs was a legendary figure; every company needs a spiritual leader,’ said the 20-year-old university student. ‘Without Jobs, I don’t know if Apple can give us more classic products, like the iPhone 4.’
Apple fans inÂ HONG KONGÂ laid flowers in memory of Steve Jobs at the company’s recently opened store in the city.
One Apple fan who gave only his surname, Chiu, said he was ‘just sorry’ to hear of the founder’s death from cancer at the age of 56 and said he ‘should have lived longer’.
Chiu left a sunflower, a reference to the photo app on the iPod, iPhone and iPad, which uses the flower for its icon.
Cards read ‘Steve Jobs’ spirit lives forever’ and ‘We will miss you’. Apple fan club chairman Derek Ngai called Mr Jobs a ‘visionary’ and a ‘hero’.
‘Thanks for showing you can change the world’: Even Apple founder’s rivals join in the tributes
The worlds of politics, business, sport and entertainment joined forces today to pay tribute to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
Some of the most poignant words came from his greatest business rivals, people who admired him both asÂ a competitor and as a man.
Bill Gates, founder of rival company Microsoft and Mr Jobs’s friend: “The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come.’
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg: ‘Steve, thank you for being a mentor and a friend. Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world. I will miss you.’
Tim Cook, who replaced Mr Jobs as Apple chief executive: ‘Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.’
Barack Obama: ‘He transformed our lives, redefined entire industries, and achieved one of the rarest feats in human history: he changed the way each of us sees the world.’
Former prime minister Tony Blair: ‘As much as anyone in any walk of life in the early 21st century he changed people’s lives simply by imagination and determination. His memory will serve as a symbol of what the human mind can achieve.’
BBC Director General Mark Thompson: ‘It’s hard to think of anyone who changed our world more over the last 10 years.’
The writer and comedian Stephen Fry wrote: ‘Woke to the news of Steve Jobs’s death. He changed the world. I knew him a little and admired him entirely. Love to Apple and his family.’
Manchester City FC’s Italian striker Mario Balotelli wrote: ‘RIP Steve Jobs, your iPad got me through many boring benching sessions.’
Referring to the improved, updated versions of iPhones, comedian David Baddiel joked: ‘If only God was more like Apple, and could bring him back as Steve Jobs 2S.’
BBC Radio 2 presenter Jeremy Vine described Mr Jobs as an ‘utter genius’ and ‘officially irreplaceable’.
Journalist and author Tony Parsons put Mr Jobs’ death alongside John Lennon’s and Clash frontman Joe Strummer.’The death of Steve Jobs recalls the grateful sadness felt when John Lennon and Joe Strummer died. One dreaming man truly can change the world.’
David Cameron and Labour leader Ed Miliband both paid tribute to Mr Jobs using Twitter.
Mr Cameron said: ‘Steve Jobs transformed the way we work and play; a creative genius who will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with his family.’
Mr Miliband said: ‘Very sad to hear about the death of Steve Jobs. His work had a huge impact on our lives and he inspired thousands of young minds.’
Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata Sons, the global business group: ‘Apple’s products, under his leadership, have had a profound impact on mankind, unequalled by any other company in the information and technology space.’